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Cayman Heaven

INFORMATION

When you arrive be sure to pick up "The Straight", Vancouver's News and Entertainment weekly. This free paper has over a hundred pages of useful information.

Before you go look at http://www.straight.com

 

For an understanding of Vancouver’s origins visit the latest attraction

“The Storyeum” at Water Street in Gastown.

 

It is a theatrical presentation of British Columbia’s history in which you spend over an hour and a half visiting a series of underground stages.

Useful websites:

http://www.tourismvancouver.com/

http://www.discoverbc.com/

 

 

Eating:

There are many good restaurants; I found particularly good value in “Earls” at 1601 West Broadway (there are numerous locations).

For more intimate dining. “The Ordinary Café” at 1688 West 4th Avenue offers outstanding food at reasonable prices.

 

 

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Allan Rogers gets more than he

"last minute bargained"  for.

As we waited for the in-flight movies to begin the screen above our heads flitted through ever changing information.

 

It depicted a little airplane flying over a blue sea, a line tracing our pathway over Greenland and Canada towards Calgary. We were due to touch down there 8 hours and ten minutes after leaving the UK, and then fly on to Vancouver

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The flight was a late booking bargain that came about by my wife abandoning me to go shopping and me wandering into Thomas Cooks'. That was on the Friday. The credit card was flexed and by the Wednesday we were winging our way to the far side of North America. The cost was on par with for the price of a cheap self-catering package in Mallorca. Quite a bargain!

 

So there we were racing the sun, confusing our watches and body clocks. We persevered and kept awake for 28 hours, then slept well. When the early morning sun cast a rosy tint upon the mountains that form the glorious backdrop to Vancouver, we were refreshed and well adjusted to the new time zone.

 

We actually saw the sun just a fraction earlier than most folk in Vancouver as our bedroom on Beach Avenue was on the 28th floor

. Looking down on to False Creek we were able to watch a multitude of pleasure craft and also a fleet of little blue boats with rounded ends that looked like toys from a child's bath.

These are little ferries and are part of the cities transit system.

You can buy a day ticket and visit a variety of attractions all along False Creek.

 

We took the boat to Granville Island, which is is very much a "people place" especially at weekend. You can enjoy dining outside or just sitting

around with the sun on your face listening to the buskers and

watching the ice mist on your beer glass.

 

If you feel the need to be a little more adventurous

you can hire a canoe and paddle in False Creek and English Bay.

Invest a little more and you can take out a power boat

Greg at the rental dock can even provide you with

fishing equipment.

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When we arrived at Vanier Park replica of a Viking long ship was being rigged.

 

The Maritime Museum, Vancouver Museum and Pacific Space Centre are located nearby and there is a popular sandy beach. Take the ferry in the other direction and you reach Science World, housed in a building that looks like a giant golf ball.

 

Taking to the roads, it was a straight run down ‘Route 99’ to Richmond and the historic fishing village of Steveston on the Fraser River.

 

Back in1897 there were some 14 canneries stretching along the channel. Today it’s a place that harvests tourists as well as fish.

 

 

Locals buy fish direct from the boats that line the piers. On board the fishing boat “Malahat II”

 

Regan Ritchie held up an ‘Albacore Tuna’ for us to admire.

It weighed some 25lb. (our frying pan back at the apartment was rather small so we decided not to purchase it.)

 

The boats spend up to three weeks out fishing off the Oregon coast.

As to other fish Regan told us that in the mouth of the Fraser river there are times when there is a ‘run’ on the salmon are so numerous that you can hear the noise as they swish through the water.

 

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A touch of colour was added to our visit when we met up with a couple of Mounties,

PC Jack Harrison and PC Joy Nguyes of Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

 

 

They were being mobbed by camera clicking Japanese tourists and good naturedly

posed for pictures in their vivid scarlet tunics.

 

Other nearby places worth a drive include the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Port Moody and scenic Balcarra, Horseshoe Bay (where you can get a ferry to Vancouver Island,) Grouse Mountain,

(access by the ‘Skyride’ cable car,) and of course Stanley Park.

Getting Around

 

The pound offers good value against the Canadian dollar ( £1 =  C$1.85.)

 

Taxis are reasonable (sbout C$28/£15 to get to the airport,) but for value and daily convenience use the excellent bus system to get around the city.

There is a flat fare and the ticket can be used for a further journey within a 90 minute period.

 

Many of the busses will take you down to the ‘Waterfront’ where you can take the ferry from the Seabus terminal across to North Vancouver.

Even on this you get a transfer ticket that you can use to take the bus (No. 236)

up to the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

 

 

This is well worth doing, not only do you have the excitement of crossing the canyon on 450 feet of swaying planks but there is rain forest canopy walk to explore and giant totem poles to admire.

 

 

When the bridge was built back in 1889 it was suspended on hemp rope, today’s bridge uses 2” steel cables capable of supporting 2 fully loaded 747s.

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Main roads are quite busy as everyone and his friend seems to have a car. It is more rewarding to move a couple of blocks away and drive slowly though the neighbourhoods.

 

It you rent a car and they offer you an upgrade to a larger vehicle do bear in mind that it may be wider than the one you are used to in the UK.

 

Thus, while the gleaming white Pontiac they gave me was extremely comfortable and had more dials than an aircraft cockpit, it did have an unfortunate habit of putting its wheels up on the kerb.

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VANCOUVER